#9 Portal LR-minIron Senergy, the owner and operator of the Cumberland longwall mine located in Greene County, Pennsylvania, said it is aware that members of the international and local leadership of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) have issued press releases and commissioned news articles indicating that the Cumberland mine is permanently closing. “These reports are false,” said Justin Thompson, CEO and owner, Iron Senergy.

When Iron Senergy acquired the mine from Contura Energy in December 2020, the Cumberland mine was scheduled to be permanently closed at the end of 2022. In the last three years, however, Iron Senergy has deployed more than $130 million to extend the life of, and invest in the future success of, the Cumberland mine. In addition, Iron Senergy has significantly reclaimed and repurposed the former Emerald mine (which was closed in 2015), rebranding it as the “Greene Energy Center,” which now hosts several industrial applications, including a new frac-sand transloading facility, all of which have created jobs and tax dollars and benefited the local economy.

Along the way, Iron Senergy said it has added more than 100 full-time employees at the Cumberland mine and donated more than $3 million to 150 local community organizations. “Any suggestion by the UMWA in its public statements that Iron has treated its employees unfairly, or that Iron does not understand its importance within the community, is patently false and would be refuted by an overwhelming majority of the workforce at the Cumberland mine and the citizens of Greene County, Pennsylvania,” Thompon said.

Furthermore, the company said that any suggestion by the union that Iron Senergy is failing to communicate adequately with it is unfounded. Iron Senergy said it has a well-documented history of meeting regularly with the UMWA to discuss issues and will continue to engage as needed and when reasonably convenient. Iron Senergy said it will not, however, respond to unreasonable demands for in-person meetings, on short notice.

The workers at the Cumberland Mine were sent home on March 20, 2024, when elevated methane levels were detected. Those workers will be called back to work when Iron determines that the Cumberland mine can be operated safely and compliantly and when sufficient modes of transportation are made available by Iron Senergy’s customers to reduce inventory levels and justify the recommencement of mining activities, which has only been compounded by the recent closure of the Port of Baltimore as a result of the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. “We fully expect to resume production in the coming days as previously planned,” Thompson said.

While unfortunate, the public statements issued and commissioned by the UMWA have generated rumors and questions about the future of the Cumberland mine.

Iron Senergy said it looks forward to the continued operation and success of the Cumberland mine, but like every other coal operator, it will evaluate the continued operation based on relevant factors, including its ability to operate a safe and compliant coal mine, its ability to adequately staff its operations with qualified personnel, and its view on the long-term commitment of its customer base. That type of evaluation began when it acquired the Cumberland mine, has occurred each year since then and will continue to occur in 2024 and beyond. The UMWA, Thompson said, should not confuse that evaluation, and the related planning activities related thereto, as a decision to permanently close the Cumberland mine at any time.